DVHSS 22nd Annual Reunion

June 17–21, 2015, Winchester, Va.

Harpers Ferry Lower TownHarpers Ferry Lower TownThe 2015 DVHSS reunion in Winchester, Va., will be remembered for the number of new members that attended and their integration with the group’s other members. The members became close during the unplanned meals that were attended en masse. The Out Reach Committee located several of the newcomers, and other neophytes came from DVHSS member’s extended families. A big thank you goes to Carey Hardy, Randy Hollingsworth, and Jo Hollingsworth for their efforts in attracting new members. A total of 61 Hollingsworths attended the reunion.

Several groups deserve special mention. Kathy Hutchison brought her daughter and son-in law, Kiersten and Coleman Wooldridge (Ohio), and Dewey and Harpers Ferry ReenactorsHarpers Ferry ReenactorsDonna Hollingsworth brought their daughter Lynn from Texas. Ohioans Kathryn Ripper Smith and her father and mother, Richard and Betty Smith, were delightful additions. Probably the most raucous new group was the “West Coast Gang,” consisting of Jim Hollingsworth (Spokane, Wash.), his son Erik from Montana, Jim’s brother, Stephan (San Raphael, Calif.), and Stephan’s son, Jeffrey from Los Angeles. The presence of youth to our group is important for our Society’s future health.

Wednesday’s activities started with a morning excursion to Harper’s Ferry, site of the famous  pre-civil war raid by anti-slavery advocate  John Brown.  The lower town is maintained as it was in the mid-1800's and is staffed Hollingsworth Quilt at WaterfordHollingsworth Quilt at Waterfordby volunteers in period costumes that did an excellent job of explaining the workings of each shop. The morning culminated, for most, with lunch in Harper’s Ferry. The group dispersed to other local attractions and ended up in the Hampton Inn’s lobby. An improvised dinner at Piccadilly Public House saw the group get together and discuss the day’s events.

Thursday morning found the group in historic Waterford, Va. Waterford, a village founded by Quakers, includes many homes resided in by early Hollingsworths. The morning started at the Waterford Foundation with an introduction to Waterford by Bronwen Souder. The highlight occurred when she displayed a Hollingsworth quilt,DVHSS group photo at WaterfordDVHSS group photo at Waterford and we discovered that new member Barbara Suhay (Birmingham, Mich.) had relatives that had worked on the quilt. Bronwen then directed a walking tour of the village, noting the Hollingsworth residences and their history. As usual, our merry group set off to do their own investigation of the town.

Thursday’s lunch kicked off at Susan and George Webber’s home in Leesburg, Va. The catered lunch was well attended with newcomers Alan, Joyce, and Abigail Brower from Sterling, Va., and Cathryn Lynch of Orlean, Va., attending. George Webber introduced Rich Gillespie of the Mosby Heritage Foundation, who gave an extremely entertaining and well-informed discussion on John Singleton Mosby. Mosby, a Civil War cavalry officer under Jeb Stuart, was leader of the Confederate cavalry known as Mosby Raiders, which operated in the Loudon Co., Va., area.

Lunch at Weber'sLunch at Weber'sJames Morgan, of the Friends of Ball’s Bluff and author of the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, then took our group on a tour of the Ball’s Bluff Civil War Battlefield outside of Leesburg. James’s in depth description of the battle was shortened by a sudden thunderstorm that soaked many of our intrepid travelers. Dinner at One Block West was well attended.

The Gettysburg National Battlefield tour was Friday’s scheduled event. The trip saw “The Green Team” (Valentine Hollingsworth, Jr.’s descendants) take over the back of the bus. Green Team newcomers Rich and Cathy Hollingsworth (Ellisville, Miss.), Pierce and Vicki Hollingsworth (Wheaton, Ill.), and Debbie and Todd Arnold with their daughters Madison and Megan (Kemblesville, Pa.) joined us for the Gettysburg tour, as did our good friend Cora Anne Ferrara (Md. ).

The tour included a visit to the Cyclorama and museum in the morning, lunch at Pickett’s Charge Buffet, and a ranger-guided bus tour of the battlefield. As expected, our guide was outstanding in the details of the battle and Devil's Den viewed from Little Round Top at GettysburgDevil's Den viewed from Little Round Top at Gettysburggave us a clear picture of how the battle evolved. After a dinner stop at the Shamrock Inn, we returned to the Hampton Inn.

Saturday’s DVHSS annual meeting included the election of officers. The meeting saw Jo Hollingsworth (Ohio) step down after eight years as president of the DVHSS. During her tenure our group has continued to expand in areas too numerous to mention. Good job, Jo, and thank you for your tireless efforts.

Harry Hollingsworth (Ga.) was awarded a Hollingsworth medallion for his long attendance and support.

The meeting ended with Dewey Hollingsworth’s (Texas) rollicking auction of Joanne Powell’s (Fla .) two handbags made from Hollingsworth tee-shirts by the Hoosier Ladies (Barbara Copeland, Sandra Profant, and much missed friend Shirley Lashbrook).

Abram’s Delight gave our members a guided tour following the annual meeting, which was followed by lunch at Brewster’s Pub. The afternoon activities included a visit to Centre Meeting House and a historical review by Jim Riley (Va.). Jim led some of the group on a tour of the Hollingsworth-Parkins Cemetery.

DVHSS group at Abram's DelightDVHSS group at Abram's DelightSaturday’s finale was a sumptuous dinner at the Strasburg Inn where Kristen Laise from the Belle Grove Foundation gave an enlightening talk on the early history of the Winchester area. New members Steve Hollingsworth (Woodstock, Va.), Charles and Ruth Ford (“Green Team” members from Hockessin, Del.), Cathrine Cashwell (Va.), and Boyd and Deena Hollingsworth (Falls Church, Va.) joined the group for dinner.

Sunday was the day for departure with some of our members attending the Hopewell Meeting. As always, departing is an emotional event as we say goodbye to our friends and relatives. Any reunion is a function of contributions by unsung heroes.

Thanks should go to Susan and George Webber (Va.) for opening their home to our members. Susan and George were also instrumental in lining up our four outstanding speakers. Cathy Copeland’s (Ind.) name cards were, once again, professionally done. John R. (Ala.) and Randy Hollingsworth (Iowa) did a yeoman job at indoctrinating our new members. Special thanks go to those of you that manned the vehicles that took our crew safely  around the Virginia landscape.

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